Castlereagh’s Deloitte report clears Iris Robinson

The Deloitte report into the awarding of the Lock Keeper’s Inn contract to Kirk McCambley was delivered to Castlereagh Borough Council tonight and gave everyone concerned – Iris Robinson, as well that of other councillors and council officers – a clean bill of health.

After the private meeting of council, the DUP’s Jimmy Spratt said:

Iris Robinson has been totally exonerated and that is very clear … There is absolutely no criticism of her at any point throughout the report. This report brings this chapter in Castlereagh council’s history to a close.

The UTV report explains

The investigation by Deloitte examined whether or not Iris Robinson or other council members acted inappropriately or illegally regarding the awarding the lease at the Lock Keeper’s Inn and if Castlereagh Council suffered any financial loss as a result.

The BBC report that Castlereagh Borough Council released a statement last night – obviously on paper rather than for all to see on the web – and in it they say:

The report concluded that there was no evidence of financial loss to the council or any impropriety by council officers or members directly involved in the assessment panel regarding the award of the lease.

As the final draft report has only been received this evening, the council will require time to comprehensively review the report and enable councillors and officers to respond to the content.

I’ll post a link to the report if Castlereagh Borough Council release it. Given their poor record for putting council minutes onlinewebsite hasn’t been updated since January 2011 – I’ll not hold my breath!

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  • lamhdearg

    i still think this and the gerrys brother storys where just a little push by H.M.G. . it worked, the Brits are good at that sort of stuff.

  • Jack2

    Did we really expect anything else.

    ——————————-
    Wrongdoing and hypocrisy identified.
    A journey into the wilderness.
    Claim “health issues” so none can pursue.
    Stances are softened, bridges are built.
    Strings are pulled, the whitewash appears.
    Welcoming back of the prodigal child.

    ————————-
    The health card is played by the most desperate and insincere all around the world. Even today suspected war criminal Mladic has his hearing halted due to “medical complaints”.

    Of course there was wrongdoing.
    Do HMRC have no interest in 50k being moved around with no paper trace? What about the repayment scheme being funnelled through a church?

    Just more whitewash slapped right in the face of ordinary tax payers.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Eh ? Kirk was an agent ?

  • lamhdearg

    not sure what Kirk was but he was not a gentleman. the story was there it just needed a little sexing up and a little talk of illegality.

  • Banjaxed

    After the ” I AM A STAR ”entrance at Dublin Castle to meet QE II and M McAl, was anyone REALLY surprised that with one leap our heroine would not be free?

  • iluvni

    Anyone asked if she has rejoined the DUP yet?

    Re-join, co-opt, gravy train.

  • Driftwood

    No chance. If she rejoined, the gravy train carriages would be plain for all to see.And we don’t want that.
    She is ‘getting better’, from her ‘illness’. Peter is making sure she gets the best ‘treatment’ for her ‘illness’.
    Like fellow sufferers Tiger Woods and Ryan Giggs, we cannot imagine her torment. Only hope that like them, she recovers from her ‘illness’.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Hmmmm, interesting, so do they not have to declare an interest now?

    Anyway, wasn’t the real story here about the way she got £50,000? That wasn’t really about Castlereagh Borough Council

  • joeCanuck

    Shush, Lionel. Speaking too loudly can cause the boat to rock.

  • Cynic2

    Lionel

    Wash your mouth out with soap you naughty boy

  • Rory Carr

    I am delighted to hear from Jimmy Spratt that, “No one’s integrity has been impunged,” which, if it had been, I can only imagine would have been very painful.

  • Banjaxed

    Naughty, but true – for it looks like Castlereagh BC is doing the same thing to its ratepayers as Kirk did to her.

  • Jack2

    Lionel
    “I shall remain quiet. This nasty business needs to forgotten.”

    Why must it be forgotten?
    Its this attitude that lets the hypocrits get away with their lies and deceit. Taking the ratepayers of Castlereagh and tax payers of NI for fools who wont remember or follow up any wrongdoings.

    Business men just dont hand over 50k without strings.
    One hand washes the other – either the money was for a deed in the past or one to follow.

    Kirk is the only one who came out of this with a shred of decency.
    He didnt break his marriage vows.
    He didnt rustle up the money with a nod and a wink.
    He didnt [edited – Mod] gays quoting morality bible verses on radio – then be found out as a hypocrit.
    He didnt buy land for a fiver from a developer.

    He didnt sell his story.

  • Alan, the Council website index page, er, isn’t opening at the moment …

    Perhaps the report could be published online NOW so that the forensic skills of Slugger commentators could be made FREELY available for the benefit of Castlereagh councillors and officials – not to mention the ratepayers and taxpayers who foot the bills.

  • Framer

    What a tit Kirk was not selling his story to the Sunday World.

    Are we allowed to mention that newspaper’s name?

    Anyone with an ounce of sense knew last year that there was no criminality involved at Castlereagh council but the media and blogging pack insisted on incredibly expensive enquiries and Deloitte was only too happy to oblige, as was the PSNI getting loads of overtime in warm offices.

    Now the same pack can’t get enough of the new cured Iris who was seen at Dublin Castle in a long tête a tête with Cardinal Brady for what might have been instruction or was it perhaps absolution.

    Was the Queen being upstaged or just used as cover?

  • SDLP supporter

    Why should we accept a report from an auditing and accountancy outfit like Deloitte? Auditors and accountants are the most currently the most discredited profession in the business world: think RBS, Anglo-Irish Bank (Ernst & Young) and, in the Republic, the millions wasted on the failed PPARS system (a Deloitte job, as I recall).

    These ‘professionals’ in the case of Anglo Irish, failed to notice that Seanie Fitzpatrick was teeming and lading his vast loans in the space of a few days over the financial year end, something a trainee auditor is taught to look out for in the first week of training. ‘Window dressings’ it’s called.

    If Castlereagh Borough Council wanted a professional job done they should have given it to the NI Audit Office, whose integrity and competence has never been impugned. These ‘professional’ firms are guns for hire, often hired by bureaucracy to provide the “right” answers or to give cover for dodgy projects. Hence, say in relation to some of our ‘landmark’ tourist projects, the ludicrously-overstated projections of visitor numbers.

    I hear that Sammy Wilson is keeping an eye on the bureaucracy’s knee-jerk reaction to call in PwC, KMPG, Deloitte, BDO over every little issue and charging vast fees for obvious answers. If he is serious about that, Sammy has my support.

  • Drumlins Rock

    So we have an inquiry (well the summary of one but will take their word for now) that clears CBC of any wrong doing, even though I for one am not aware there ever was any real allegation againts the council.
    Unfortunately we cannot say the same about the family Robinison dealings with numerous property developers, mysterious “loans” and “£5 land deals”, that is the real issue and as far as I can see no proper investigation has taken place to date.

  • Skinner

    Interesting timing to say the least – see how she gets on with the re-introduction to the public, note the quite warm comments, the idle rubbish about the dress, etc, and only then confirm that she’s been cleared. I’ll be interested to read how they interpret the failure to declare an interest.

    I don’t like, by the way, the insinuation by people above that she did not have an illness. Mental illness is very serious and it is cruel to portray it as mythical. Strange that she would follow through with the attempt to end her life if it was just a ruse.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Jack,

    Sarcasm maybe. Lol. Whatever happened to the investigations into Peter Robinson. was he cleared officially?

  • cynic49

    Well there you have it, the lady did nothing wrong and if the commissioned experts say so then it must be right. It was a bit unfortunate all round that any of these nasty allegations ever made it into the public domain. What do that they say about what happens behind closed doors, especially if church doors are involved?

  • In England this would have ended up on the desk of the Standards Commissioner – an independent body outside the councils to investigate standards inside them. It looks like we need one here.

  • “If Castlereagh Borough Council wanted a professional job done they should have given it to the NI Audit Office, whose integrity and competence has never been impugned.”

    SDLP supporter, the NIAO has a role:

    “Our objectives are to provide effective support to the Northern Ireland Assembly in its task of holding Departments and their Agencies to account for their use of public money and effective local government audit. We also aim to provide support to Northern Ireland public sector bodies in their pursuit of improved financial reporting and value for money, including support for efforts to combat public sector fraud.” … NIAO website

    The NIAO’s independence from government departments has been questioned; it would appear to be a watchdog that is too likely to lick your hand.; there’s a lack of bark and bite.

  • SDLP supporter

    Nevin

    “quis custodiet ipsos custodes”-who guards the guardians?

    It’s an ongoing battle to ensure that auditors remain independent from government departments and that requires real, principled, tough leadership. My point is that NIAO doing the job is much preferable to a commerical outfit like Deloitte, whose main interest is preserving its bottom line and being kept in the frame for future work.

    If you read ‘Private Eye’ you’ll be aware of the campaign it rightly waged for years against Sir John Bourn, former Chair of the National Audit Office, over his ludicrously high expenses. Private Eye was ultimately vindicated.

    You draw my attention to the Rathlin Ferry issue. Have the protagonsits there tried FoI requests or even, ultimately, a judicial review? I hear that barristers are becoming much cheaper these days.

  • SDLP supporter, I take your point about large accountancy firms in this small jurisdiction. Why would they wish to bite the hand that feeds them?

    I’ll just make a brief response to your Rathlin query – some of our more excitable contributors have been known to go apoplectic. Jim Allister TUV and Lord Laird UUP have been two of the very few political representatives prepared to assist those who dared to ask questions of our lords and masters viz Ministers and Permanent Secretaries. Queries and information were passed to the NIAO but instead of acting in the public interest it passed the buck to – our lords and masters. To crown it all the timorous NIAO, as you can see from the link, asked the Permanent Secretary of the department under fire to check the NIAO review for accuracy.

    Obviously I can’t say too much but one of the ‘protagonists’ could take lumps out of your average barrister!

  • [Afterthought]SDLP supporter, some folks might say the Executive should go to Rathlin – permanently. They might even be able to get a wee treat for half the subsidised fare if they play happy families. We taxpayers wouldn’t begrudge them that!

  • Iris Robinson did actually pay a heavy price for her indiscretion/s and so far she appears to be the only one who has. It took courage for her to make her first appearance at the state dinner and I don’t think she tried to upstage anyone.

    It was funny and chastening and that was all it was.

  • Jack2

    Pippakin:
    “Iris Robinson did actually pay a heavy price for her indiscretion/s and so far she appears to be the only one who has. It took courage for her to make her first appearance at the state dinner and I don’t think she tried to upstage anyone.”

    I would suggest that NI taxpayers have paid this highest price.
    Forking out for:
    MLA Salary +expenses
    MP salary +expenses
    Council salary + expenses
    PSNI Inquiry
    Deloitte Inquiry
    Whatever favor(s) was done to provide 50k with just a nod and a wink must have cost Castlereagh ratepayers.

    I wouldnt call her first public appearance meeting the Queen courage. Brazen is more apt.
    Courage is picking yourself up again after being beaten mindlessly by homophobic thugs egged on by an MP’s/MLA’s words.

  • Jack2

    There is more than one kind of courage.

    The money she was paid was no more than that paid to any other work shy politician and her mistake cost her more than her job. It cost her the respect of her community and her electorate. It almost cost Peter Robinson his career and the knowledge of all that will not be fading.

    Personally I see no big deal in meeting the queen which may be one reason I am unimpressed by it.

  • Blowinginthewind

    Jack2; Iris Robinson may have been hypocritical and showed incredibly bad judgement. However, she worked hard as an MLA and was respected as an MP–and I’m not that enamoured by her or her party. And while she showed bad judgement by helping Kirk McCambley to secure funding there was nothing illegal in helping get loans. She should have reported an interest but again, that’s not a criminal offence.

  • I am just waiting now for some clergy man to step up to the podium suggesting that Iris Robinson hasn’t even committed a sin.

    But what now for the Program who broke the story, can we allow such mis-information to be broadcasted by the BBC. Personally I know that I have harboured negative thoughts about this innocent woman since the spotlight program went out, believing everything that was fed to me.

    How does one complain about this ‘untruth’? should they not have got legal advice before putting the program out. Spotlight said in fact Iris Robinson broke a whole cluster of other rules in the councillors code of conduct

  • slanghammer

    Corruption is Corruption is Corruption.
    Nothing has been proven by this so called report.
    This “secret report” was paid for out of the pockets of the people, we own it and I for one want full excess to dissect the words with the same precision and care they were constructed. Spin in not dead!
    The only thing Jimmy Spratt’s statement provides is insight into the lengths that will be gone to to cover up the dirty dealings within the halls of politics.
    His words only create more questions, Nothing is resolved.

  • In terms of seeing the report, Castlereagh council are not realising the draft report and in response to an FOI pointed to their press statement on the night of the discussion around the draft report at council:

    As indicated in the press release the council “will require time to comprehensively review the report and enable councillors and officers to respond to the content”. “A further report will then be presented to the Council”.

  • slanghammer

    It is now obvious that Mr Sprat was wrong of to so vehemently protest Mrs Robinson’s innocence.
    Exactly what is innocent about the Robinson’s and their close ties to builders and property dealings.
    I know many with many Millions, but irrespective of the accumulation of personal wealth none, not one, throws £25,000 at a friend or stranger without requirement or favour, past or for the future.

  • joeCanuck

    Can Mr.Robinson now release his advice, clearing him, paid for by taxpayers? My understanding when he initially demurred was because of the possibilty of legal action against him and/or his wife. That threat has now gone. So let’s hear from him.